Friday, September 4, 2009

Peach Jamapalooza

Today we helped Aunt K make peach jam - LOTS of peach jam. Last week, one of her brothers delivered two paper grocery bags completely filled with small peaches he'd gleaned from a branch that had broken off his peach tree. Rather than toss the unripened fruit, they closed the bags tightly and the fruit ripened. They weren't particularly large, and some of them never managed to ripen, but most were more than edible - they were very pleasant.

Still, in this peach territory, better eating peaches are easy to come by. THESE would be perfect for jamming.

After breakfast, we blanched the peaches, then gathered on the shady back porch to cut them in half, remove the skins which peeled easily after the blanching, then remove the pits. Once prepared, we had just over 20 pounds of peaches.

We divided the prepared peaches into four batches of about 5 pounds each, then added 5 cups of sugar and 3 tsp. lemon juice to each batch. We mashed the peaches by hand into irregular shapes (we all prefer a variety of shapes in our jam), then put them on the stove. Once at a good boil, we maintained the boil, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes. Then we ladled the freshly prepared jam into sterilized glass jars.

Using a water bath kettle, we covered the filled, capped jars with at least 1 inch of water, then brought the water to a boil and maintained the boil for 15 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for the quarts.

Of course, there was about 1/2 pint that wouldn't fit into the jar, so we put this in a small bowl for immediate use. Oh. My. HEAVENS! It was just SCRUMPTIOUS!

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